Thursday, 1 November 2007

Rainforests... I'm loving them!

If there is one topic which fires the imagination of pupils in the geography classroom, it has to be rainforests. From their primary school forays into a world of giant trees, strange creepy crawlies, amazing animals and fascinating cultures to their more politically correct studies of deforestation and conflict with indigenous peoples in senior school, rainforests are always high on their list of favourite topics. Today as Mark has headed inland through a low and thickly forested mountain range, I have been exploring the 'jungle' and loving it! Here is a patch of rainforest about ten miles from the road he was cycling on this morning......Rainforests cover about about 47% of Malaysia but are disappearing at the rate of 2.4% annually. I have found some excellent images of the Malaysian rainforest which you can access by clicking on the image below.
A simple search for 'Malaysian rainforest' in Google will also produce countless links for you to read if you are interested in the subject.

However, in the area of rainforest which Mark was passing close to this morning, there is also graphic evidence of why the rainforest is disappearing...
...rainforest top right, tin mining in the centre and oil palms encroaching from the left!

According to the GPS tracker, Mark is over-nighting today near Ipoh which, according to Wikipedia carries the nicknames of "City of Millionaires" and "the Town that tin built"; referring to the vast fortunes made during the boom of the tin mining and rubber industries. However, it seems that it is also something of a large retirement complex! With the collapse of tin prices and the closure of the tin mines in the late 1970s, Ipoh's growth had stagnated and resulted in the migration of many young talents to other parts of Malaysia Ipoh has since been known colloquially as a "dead" city and earned a reputation as a good location for retirement.

And finally, one of the reasons why the rainforest should be preserved.... the rarest, smelliest, flower in the world. The commentary is not easy to make out but there are some excellent views of the rainforest in north west Malaysia and the amazing Rafflesia flower.

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